Amazon is one of several online video services that has been investing in original content, much like Netflix and Hulu. A number of their shows have actually been received favorably, with Mozart in the Jungle receiving awards for best comedy.
While that’s great for them, these shows may not be seen by too many people. There’s an estimated 54 million Prime subscribers, although they may just use the free shipping or some other benefit that isn’t video.
Amazon is now putting the pilots for their series on YouTube and Facebook for anyone to watch which seems to be a move to bring more users to the service. HBO has done similar things in the past, for example publishing the pilot of The Newsroom on YouTube to draw in more subscribers. HBO also posts segments of John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight on YouTube every week.
The move to YouTube and Facebook may also help spread their shows virally on mobile. These videos are embedded in the app so I can quickly watch any of my friends videos instead of having to open a web browser, authenticate, and play the show in this different environment. It could help people share this content with others and further draw in people.
Many of the Facebook videos I watch are short clips. I don’t expect full-length shows, and I don’t know if other people would either. This could reduce the effectiveness of Facebook’s platform for TV. It’s also not too clear how enticing these pilots will be in drawing more customers to Amazon Prime. However, it may be the push needed to get more current Prime users to watch more videos and become more reliant on the service.
You can watch these shows in your YouTube app on Android TV, and if you find a series you want to continue you can sideload the Amazon VOD app.